Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - C.M. Punk dominates the show, John Cena makes a challenge for Hell in a Cell, Mick Foley appears, Ryback wants a big meal, Jerry Lawler appears via satellite, and more
By Will Pruett
- The cold open of Monday Night Raw with C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman seems to be what we are going to get in this long stretch between pay-per-views. It was a decent segment that didn't stretch the story in a new direction, but it reinforced where it was headed in the first place.
- It's interesting to see some old A.J. Lee footage pop up on Raw. Her interactions with Paul Heyman and Punk were well done. There is something missing with A.J. as the General Manager, but it is hard to pinpoint it. Hopefully entering a real feud will help to fill in what is missing.
- As a Packer fan, I am fighting through my blind rage at the NFL to write this editorial. I knew that WWE would capitalize on the NFL referee controversy in some way and introducing the Brad Maddox character is not a bad way to do so. Hopefully he will only be a referee, as referees turning into wrestlers rarely produce compelling stories.
- Some people are upset about about the shots of Jerry Lawler on the stretcher. I totally understand why they are, but I am not. With all of the cameras around WWE events, I can understand why a camera man or photographer would be there. Using that picture on TV is a little odd, but it isn't the most tasteless thing WWE has ever done.
- I feel like we get a midcard match between Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler at least twice a year. This was one of their better efforts. I really enjoyed this, even though we have seen it so often.
- Kane and Daniel Bryan (with Dr. Shelby) in the diner could have been fun. It could have been, but it wasn't. These segments didn't feature the subtle humor and fun self-referential moments we saw in hat Anger Management sessions. These ones erred too much on the side of absurdity and toilet humor. I still love the act as a team, but the skits can end here.
- I like it when Titus O'Neal is serious and angry. I hate it when Darren Young dances. Can I just have one Primetime Player?
- Mick Foley seems to have taken a trip to promo-land on his way to Raw this week. His interaction with C.M. Punk was great. It seems that WWE is going to have Punk interact with others and be goaded into Hell in a Cell with Cena. This is a fine way to tell that story without Cena having to be on weekly TV.
- Punk was all over this show and it was merely to talk. For anyone that thought Punk would just have Heyman talk for him, this is proof that this was not true.
- The idea of Punk's story being to make a moment instead of a statistic was interesting. I love the historical aspects of his title reign. I also really appreciate how important WWE has made it feel by telling a non-conventional story with it.
- I was wondering why The Miz lost so quickly to Ryback until the end of the show. Ryback is being shot to the top of the card very quickly. Is this WWE capitalizing on Ryback before he plummets down the card or is this too much too fast?
- Why do fans try to run into the ring? What are they trying to do?
- Tyson Kidd gave a really nice effort in his squash with Wade Barrett. Kidd can be much more than his current role implies, but this isn't the worst use of him. Also, Barrett has yet to catch on since his return, but I do hope he does. He can be so great.
- I'm glad Jerry Lawler had time to hit the tanning bed after his heart attack. He really does look fantastic. While he doesn't sound great, it is miraculous to see him on Raw after a heart attack. I can't wait to see him back at the commentary table as well.
- Sheamus looks absurdly tall when interacting with Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio.
- David Otunga is still way too close to the main event scene for my liking.
- What kind of person votes for "Team Hell No" instead of "Team Friendship" in WWE's naming poll? Most of the "Raw Active" decisions have made sense, but this one was awful.
- I like the idea of Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow teaming up. I also like the name Rhodes Scholars. Any pun on the name Rhodes is a winner for me.
- Is Kaitlyn as bad of an actor as Beth Phoenix? No. Is she still bad? Absolutely.
- Tensai vs. Brodus Clay seemed to be an excuse to have Big Show attack two fat guys. Hopefully this restarts the Clay and Show feud and allows Brodus to get serious.
- Honestly, when Brodus Clay enters in the third hour of Raw, the urge to fast forward becomes extremely strong. I never thought I would get tired of Clay, but it has happened.
- John Cena did some nice work that was a little too hokey for my liking. The almost-but-not-quite-profanity rant illustrated what most people sincerely dislike about him. The rest of his promo and his interaction with Punk was fantastic, but this and the memory of it took me out of the segment.
- Punk was absolute gold on the mic for this entire show, as was Heyman lifting up the WWE Championship as Punk talked.
- I like the tease of promoting Cena and Punk for Hell in a Cell without actually announcing it. The two of them can hold things out for a while before the announcement is actually made.
- The closing images of Punk, Foley, and Ryback were intriguing. Is the idea to push Ryback as a Cena substitute for a few weeks? Does this mean that Ryback will have to take his first loss to the WWE Champion? Would that derail the Ryback train?
This show was decent. It forwarded stories going into Hell in a Cell, without actually giving us too much of them. It was highlighted by three C.M. Punk promo segments. There is a risk of overexposure if WWE continues this way, but I doubt they'll give us that much Punk in the next month.
The downside is that the show still feels long in hour three. This is a major issue for WWE. The format of Raw isn't working and a fundamental change in the way they do it is in order. I hope that WWE can make it happen instead of relying on what they've done for so long.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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